Monitoring and evaluating the successes and failures of a Drug Treatment Court to see how they can be improved will be at the centre of such a court???s success.

Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, reiterated this point today, as he addressed the opening ceremony of a two-day regional training workshop on the Monitoring and Evaluation of Drug Treatment Courts at the Crane Beach Resort.

???Depending on what site you go on to, there are different reports in terms of success about the drug treatment court model.??Therefore, it is important for us to have a mechanism where we can monitor and evaluate our processes; where we can look at how we do what we do and tweak when necessary, and at the end of the day, ensure [that we] derive maximum benefits from these types of initiatives,??? he said.

Noting that he had bought into the concept of a drug treatment court and was keen on seeing one being rolled out in Barbados, Mr. Brathwaite stated that this was the right thing for the country to do in an effort to save more young people.

With the cost of incarcerating just one person standing at $35,000 a year, the Minister pointed out that the monitoring and evaluation of the drug treatment court model would highlight not just its successes and failures, but also whether or not it was a cheaper or more expensive option, or if the two were on par.

???[Therefore], it is important for us to have this mechanism in place to evaluate all that we are doing,??? he emphasised.??

Mr. Brathwaite, who is also Attorney General, told Chief Magistrates, Magistrates, attorneys and other legal personnel present, that the reality was that prisons did not have the capacity to provide the type of counselling services offered through a drug treatment court.??

In fact, he noted, most prisons were overcrowded, and short of personnel and volunteers to work within the prison.??As a result, he added, it was therefore necessary to examine what was happening and determine whether or not individuals could be ???tackled??? outside of the prison setting. This, he said, would save more young people and prevent them from reoffending.

Deputy Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Angela Crowdy, stated that the value of monitoring and evaluating projects was undeniable.

???Both monitoring and evaluation are central tools to keeping track of the planning process and measuring implementation.??It is also crucial to learning from the planning experience; to understanding what works well and blends well; and to building the evidence base for the wider application of similar measures in the future,??? she explained, stressing it was also a priority.

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